internet marketing is a failure in Internet Crisis Communications.

I am appalled. Nakumatt Holdings, the behemoth that is one of East Africa’s largest retail businesses has failed to have internet crisis communications via its web site. It is now 3 days since the Nakumatt Downtown fire tragedy that now has a confirmed death toll of approximately 40 people. However, the Nakumatt Holdings web site at has no information whatsoever on the Nakumatt Downtown fire.

In the age of the Internet, for a large business boasting a market presence throughout the EastAfrica, it goes to show that internet-based corporate communications is simply not a priority. Therefore, as a result, Kenyan blogs, including this one, are alight with posts and comments on the Nakumatt Downtown fire. Bloggers and their Readers are in effect shaping the online conversation on the issue and determining perception and opinion on the Internet front with no counter-communications coming from Nakumatt Holdings.

Meanwhile, Nakumatt Holdings is not using the internet as its most  global channel to drive the communications around this crisis. In the process, the Nakumatt brand, even in markets where it does not operate, is being eroded like the very fire that burnt Nakumatt Downtown. This blog had its highest traffic spike ever on the Nakumatt Downtown fire post I made 2 days ago and was even ranked higher than the Daily Nation or the East African Standard at one point for relevant searches on Google. This goes to show that Kenyans are online and Kenyan businesses need to use their Internet presence as a key channel of their overall communications strategy.

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  1. Hellen
    February 1, 2009 at 11:21 am — Reply

    I personally feel that the Nakumatt people took too long to respond to the disaster. The president was at the scene before they even gave a press conference.
    This leaves a lot to be desired in their public relations strategy, or rather do they even have one????!!!.
    They have not offered any form of assistance to the families of the victims (I am not even sure i have heard any condolences from their direction!!!).

  2. Albert
    February 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm — Reply

    I may not be wrong to say that Public Relations has been taken for granted. Although P.R as a profession has come from far, it still has a long way to go. Dissemination of information especially from organizations in crisis in Kenya leaves a lot to be desired.
    Pray for the life of me how Nakumatt can be having such a crisis and it has taken a reactive instead of a proactive stance when it comes to crisis management. Nakumatt has no public relations strategy. Just shooting blindfolded in the dark hopping to hit something.
    Correct me if I am wrong but I have not even heard any form of promise of financial, or counseling assistance. Mr.Thiagarajan Ramamurthy, with all your business acumen, you need an intensive course in Crisis Management.

  3. February 2, 2009 at 6:35 am — Reply

    It’s ok to have a comment.

  4. Kaumo
    February 3, 2009 at 1:40 am — Reply

    A great number of organisations have no communications strategy leaving their dissemination of information to ‘management’ most of whom have no knowledge or skills on how to do this.

    It was disastrous for Mr. Ramamurthy to confirm that all persons had been evacuated only for tens of bodies to be pulled out of the rubble! On what basis was he making his initial statement? Or was it a case of better say something to get the press off his case…….? What will the many sorry… sorry…. do for the children who have been orphaned as result, the mothers and fathers who have lost their children, for the man who has lost his wife and daughter…..? How will this comfort the many who witnessed the fire assured that there were no people trapped in the building? Is there a possibility that we would have reacted differently had we known for sure that our brothers and sisters were roasting to death?

    It is imperative that we appreciate the value of communication and use all available platforms to ensure prompt and accurate delivery of information, good or bad to our publics.

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